Thursday, November 26, 2009

Verily I sayeth unto thee, the world shall be thy urinal!

OK so when I ended my previous blog with the words:

“Honestly, who in their right mind would just base their behavior purely on some arbitrary thing they read somewhere?”

That was supposed to be a rhetorical question.  For serious.  But noooooooo.  Someone just had to step up (or is it down?) to meet the challenge like an acid tripping Don Quixote:

“Are male gynecologists professionals or perverts?

Jeremiah 17:9 reads, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  What kind of a man would go into a profession of examining women’s private parts?  Don’t tell me that he is not made of the same sinful flesh that every other man is made of.  No man can look at pornographic images and not be affected.  This is why God commands us repeatedly to set no wicked thing before our eyes.

Because of years and years of looking at and touching scores of women inappropriately, the male gynecologist no doubt has a seared conscience and a perverted mind (I will not go into detail of what goes on in the doctor’s office for decency’s sake, but any woman who has been there knows what I am referring to.).  His view of women and the marital bed has certainly been warped by his indecent involvement with countless women. 

May God help preachers in this generation to make the Bible their authority, not tradition, and call this ungodly practice what it really is – sin.  Any doctor that looks upon and touches a woman’s private parts in his office “hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”  Sir, if you let your wife go to a male gynecologist, you need to get right with God.”

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – you’re thinking “he got that from The Onion or some parody site, no way is anyone in the real world that dense.”  Yes gentle reader, you would be forgiven for thinking that but no, sadly for us as a species this is totally legit and what is more, it is only one section from a longer article.  Read it at your own peril here.

with thermonuclear fire

After running into this over at Fundies say the darndest things I felt glove slapped.  This is the kind of statement that manages to push almost all my buttons (not the good ones, the flashing red ones behind the glass with the sign that reads: DO NOT PUSH).  In one short sermonette this guy managed to mix legalistic religion, braindead literalism and complete ignorance and then boil it down to a thick sludge of toxic stupid which he then proceeded to pour out all over a group of people I have a world of respect for – doctors.

See unlike the reality challenged Pastor Steven I have some experience in this matter.  To be fair, I’ve never been to a gynecologist (for reasons I would hope are obvious) but I did have to go in for not one but two lifesaving surgeries.  Now seeing as how I am without medical and can’t afford a private hospital I had to go to a state hospital which happens to be a teaching hospital.  Both times I went my entire surgical team (except for the Professor) consisted entirely of young, attractive female surgical interns.  Now when they wheel you into surgery wearing nothing but an ill fitting little robe thing that doesn’t close at the back you may choose to cling to some vague hopes regarding modesty.  However when you wake up naked and catheterized you have to deal pretty quickly with the fact that a whole group of attractive twentysomethings just saw you naked (and clearly not at your best…).  You know what was awkward about that the next day?  Nothing!*  These ladies were barely out of med school and they were completely and utterly professional with not a trace of weirdness regarding the human body.  How much more then the men who spent years as practising OB/GYN's??

So then, to not only spout a bunch of ignorant BS wrapped in Bible verses but to call these people I owe so much gratitude to and have so much respect for a bunch of sick perverts was like talking trash about my dead mother.  Them’s fightin’ words!  It was going to be on like Donkey Kong!  I was ready to go off big time and point out that if this is representative of what Independent Baptists believe then exposing children to Independent Baptists should be considered child abuse.  But then I realized why the name Pastor Steven L. Anderson sounded so familiar.  You may remember him as a minor viral video star from not too long ago:

It was kind of a surreal Wizard of Oz type moment when I looked behind the curtain and realized the guy I was about to unleash the blogging fury on was the guy who thought that a verse saying:

Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone., 1 Kings 14:10

Was a command from God for him to go forth into the land of the Germans and stand up for sheer manliness by standing up to pee!  LIKE A MAN!!!

and yet somehow Past Steven manages to fail even stronger...

After realizing who I was dealing with my rage subsided and (after a whole lot of snickering) I realized that my rhetorical question was indeed still a rhetorical question.  See I would bet all my lands and livestock** that Past. Steve here didn’t believe one thing, then one day opened his 1611 King James Version Bible and then totally changed his beliefs on it all based on what he read.  No he always believed the way he did – clearly he remained stuck on the picture 12 year old boys have of gynaecology – and then just found whatever justification he could scrape from the Bible.  This is clearly a man with some serious issues and the Bible had nothing to do with it.  Because that is how things work in the real world.

*Well there was the pre-op prostate check which I daresay was at least a little bit awkward for everyone involved.  But I’m talking post-op here.
** Disclaimer:  I don’t actually own any lands or livestock

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Of Lions and Stepfathers

Seeing as how I very recently blogged about the whole “Darwinism inevitably leads to  Racism & Genocide” claim I was hoping to never ever have to write about this again.  Then in the aftermath of a debate between PZ Myers and Jerry Bergman on the topic "Should Intelligent Design be taught in the schools" I read the following in an email response by Ross Olson of the Twin Cities Creation Science Association (who organized the debate):

“The only point at which the crowd got rowdy was with the mention of evolution's influence on Hitler. Actually, that issue is not solved by shouting because there is a strong case that the desire to improve the race leads to eugenic and ethnic cleansing policies. Indeed, your claim that morality comes from our culture needs to answer the question, "What if my culture is the Mafia?" Other evolutionary apologists have candidly pointed out that the only morality that can come out of evolution is that I leave my genes, as many of them as possible, to the next generation.”

I was in the middle of my usual response to claims like these – a deep sigh and a facepalm – when I suddenly realized I could think of a better example than the one I gave in my previous post on the matter.

OK, let’s forget about evolution for a moment.  Any Creationist worth his/her salt will tell you that Evolution is not a scientific fact because it’s not observable and repeatable etc.  So let’s look instead at a scientific fact no one can deny.

Lets talk about lions.

Could you be any more majestic?

You think “lion” you tend to think of an animal with nobility, majesty, fierce power and beauty - and they are certainly all of those things.  Admit it, that's the kind of animal you would like to associate yourself with right?  But wait, there is one little thing about lions that they may have glossed over in The Lion King.  See there is something that happens in the wild that you probably won't enjoy seeing.  From time to time you find that the resident males in a pride will be driven off by other males and these new males will take over the pride.  Once that happens their first order of business will be to kill off all the cubs in their new pride ASAP.  This in turn leads to the females in their new pride becoming sexually receptive again and mating with the males who just killed their babies, bearing the new males new offspring.

If this was you and your mom met someone new you would look nervous too.

This is a reasonably well known - though understandably not popular - fact about lions.  We may not like to think of it much but it is a fact and in case you have trouble believing my claim I have included several sources at the bottom of this post.  A simple google search will find you even more.  Anyone who knows about lions from PhD's to Game Rangers will confirm that.  I'm not going to embed a video because (trust me on this) it's not pretty to watch but if you really need to see it for yourself, a couple of those links have video footage or alternatively you can simply go to Youtube and search for “lion infanticide” or “male lion kills cubs” and you will find plenty of documentary footage.  Heck if you still don't want to believe all that just go into the wild and study lions for yourself, you are bound to see it.  It's not like we are talking about the exception here, more like the rule.  This is a fact.  Not a nice one, not a pleasant one and certainly not an easy one to watch but an undeniable fact.

So if you are a Creationist and you think that an acceptance of Evolution inevitably leads to racism, ethnic cleansing and school shootings how do you react to this fact?  Do you think that this will inevitably lead to stepfathers killing all their stepchildren?  Should this fact not be taught in school for fear that it may cause the bloody collapse of the foster care system?  Now to be fair I used to be a Young Earth Creationist myself once so I don’t want to set up a strawman argument here.  I know the Creationist position is not so much that everyone bases their ethics and morals on nature (though you would be excused if you weren’t clear on this just from reading Creationist propaganda pieces) but rather that unless you believe that God supernaturally created human beings as and that we as His special beings therefore get all our morals and ethics directly from Him as our Creator, there is nothing stopping people from basing their ethics and morals on nature (or whatever they find to their liking).  I’m guessing there are a lot of non-creationist stepfathers out there though.  Do you honestly believe that if they all knew about this fact about lions the streets will be running red with the blood of stepchildren?  If you actually believe that then you (my hypothetical Creationist friend) are seriously out of touch with reality.  Here is why.

Remember when they taught you in grade school that you were a mammal?  I do.  I seem to also remember that at no point in time did that cause me to reject my moral upbringing, renounce my faith or change my feelings on genocide.  At no point did I figure this logically inferred that I needed to act like any mammal other than the human mammal I had been my entire life.  Similarly when I later learned that I was mostly water it never made me want to run away from home to go live in a pool.  Neither did learning that humans were carbon based make me want to burn people for fuel.  Now let’s imagine for a moment that I was either moronic enough or insane enough to actually think and do these things – would that make any of the scientific facts I just named any less true?  NoTotally, absolutely, positively not.

Seriously I can't stress the "no" part enough here

So for the millionth time, can we please drop this whole “Evolution is wrong because it would turn people into amoral eugenicist genocidal monsters” line of argument?  It has absolutely no basis in reality.  None.  At all.  Science doesn’t work that way, reality doesn’t work that way, morals don’t work like that and neither does ethics.  The veracity of our scientific ideas do not stand or fall based on the moral implications someone may or may not derive from it.  So pretty please, why not just let this entire stupid argument go?  In real life, people just don’t act like that.  Oh we learn from nature and we do apply scientific principles to our lives all the time, I’m not arguing that.  Take this lion infanticide thing for example.  We see it applied all the time.  When a new CEO, president or even pastor takes over then usually the first thing they do is to kill off all the pet projects of their predecessor and start their own – we've all seen it happen I’m sure.  But you know what we never seem to see?  Loving stepfathers who upon learning that lions kill their step-cubs decide that this must apply to them too (because it is a scientific fact after all) and then proceed to murder their stepchildren, thats what!  Doesn’t matter if you believe in God, evolution or the Celestial Teapot, that is just not how reality works!

Honestly, who in their right mind would just base their behavior purely on some arbitrary thing they read somewhere?

Wikipedia article on infanticide
The Lion Research Centre
Prides, Coalitions and Infanticide Among Lions
The African Lion - Infanticide & Female Response

Friday, November 20, 2009


I was going to do my usual kind of blog post today but I simply can't.  Not today.  I simply do not have it in me to deal with fundies, dissect antiscience, discuss bad religion or to be snarky with anyone today.  I am too happy for any of that.  I am filled with deep joy and deep gratitude.  Today I just want to watch the Boom-de-yada video on a loop and play Beethoven's Ode to Joy for the entire neighbourhood!  Seriously, if you don't know it, look up the lyrics, especially the verse that goes:
"Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!"
and then tell me thats not 7 kinds of awesomeness right there.  See today is the day I got to wake up and know that I have been officially cancer free for one year.  So all my usual sarcasm, my questions, my opinions about life and struggles with my own stubborn faith can wait for another day.  Today I'm taking an intermission.

You know yesterday in the waiting room over at Nuclear Medicine there was this middle aged lady.  She said she had a singing and dancing ministry and asked if she could sing us a song.  She did that and she did the interpretive dance that went with that and if this was any other day I would be telling you all about that in the most amusing way I could manage.  But not today.  Not regarding this lady.  Sure, she was full of all the usual Pentecostal weirdnesses that I usually like to poke some fun at but she was still wearing the bandaid from where the chemo needle went into her veins and I could never mock someone like that.  When I think of her I feel nothing but deep compassion.  We do what we have to do to survive the things that happen to us sometimes.  Over those things we have no control.  How we respond is all we have left in times like these.

So in this spirit of kindness and giving I am instead choosing to take an ad break.  Didn't see that one coming did you? Yep, just when you think I'm going to zig, I zag!  Now I realise that easily 90% of the people who show up at this blog do so because they were googling "Christian Clipart" and Google Images sent them to my Heaven and Hell blog.  But for my actual regular readers - I ♥ you both btw!! - I do want to just take a moment to recommend a book.

My bookshelf has been getting a little crowded and I'm considering a better system for my small (yet growing) personal library.  Yet at the same time I'm a little hesitant because looking at it is kind of like looking at the tree rings of my own journey of through life.  There are definite phases of my life represented there - the hyper charismatic days with Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland.  The really strange days of esoteric prophecy and visions with Rick Joyner and Paul Keith Davis.  There are a bunch of books on relationships, figuring out your life purpose, dealing with money, being a man, science vs. faith - all representing things I desperately tried to understand (so yeah, several books on figuring out women) at one or other point in life.  At the moment the older, rigid apologetics tomes have given way to more humorous and gently questioning books by the likes of Rob Bell and Don Miller and the drier works on Bible Doctrine to books delving deeper into the Hebrew roots of Christianity with a freshly growing collection of books on science, skepticism and critical thinking growing right alongside it.  I was chatting to RandomSue (who should strongly consider blogging again, srsly!!) yesterday and something she said made me realise something interesting about my books.  We were talking about Rick Joyner's books and how it never made much sense to her and suddenly I realised just how cliquey those books made a lot of us Christians at the time.  See those books (and several others on my shelf) you couldn't simply discuss with just anyone.  You could only talk about it with other Christians and not all other Christians at that.  It had to be likeminded Christians who were at your "level", people who were into the things you were into and "got it" the way you "got it" (would be very hard to define the "it" in question though so I'm not even going to try).  Basically you could only talk to people who read the things you did and liked them the way you did and it fostered this whole attitude to the rest of the world of "Tee hee, we are totally into something you can't begin to grasp!”.  This was a fundamentally retarded way of going through life now that I think about it.  There is a sharp contrast between those books and the ones I'm into these days.  In fact that's one of the things I like about my current reading list, it doesn't have that problem.  When I find something interesting in there, odds are it will be interesting to others as well - regardless of their faith, lack of faith, denomination, church attendance or level of "spiritual maturity and insight".

That is why I would like to just recommend Donald Miller's latest book "A million miles in a thousand years".  Now if you happened to have read my blog post about The Secret you would know that I have a deep and abiding hatred for books that offer you a magical way of changing your life for the better.  I hate pretty much all self-help books (with the fire of a thousand suns!!!) and I'm very much not fond of motivational books* and speakers.  Seriously, I get immediately suspicious of any book people call "life changing".  So I'm not going to make that claim about this book - the book certainly doesn't claim it about itself - and I'm not going to tell you that its going to transform you into "your best self" or any other Oprah-esque BS like that.  All it is, is a simple, very well written, very honest account of a man who wrote an autobiographical novel (Blue like Jazz) which became successful and was offered a movie deal.  As he starts working on the screenplay for his own life he realises just how boring and unfulfilling his life had become.  So as he learns the principles of storytelling and movie writing he starts applying them to his own life and they actually work.  Now I know what you are thinking - that sure does sound like a self help book with a magic formula.  It's really not.  Yes, in the book Don gets off his couch, loses some weight, meets people, starts relationships and becomes someone a lot less boring but it doesn't promise to do the same for you.  It could possibly but that would be up to you.  But at the very least it could give you a different perspective on your own life, why you are the way you are and why other people behave they way they do.  I don't lightly call things profound, but I found parts of that book to be very profound.  It also made me change a few things in my own life.  One of the reasons I'm not blogging as much as I want to is because I'm trying to change my own procrastinating ways and putting a bit more effort into my studies these days.  I'm also trying to get out of the house more and spend more time with my friends.  So far, I'm liking what reading this book has done for me.  Try it, who knows, you may just find it meaningful to you too.

*I do own Lance Armstrong's Bio and it is inspirational but I still maintain that if you want to give it as a motivational gift, give it to a single mother raising a son, not a cancer patient.  I think she would get the most out of that book.  However that too is just my unqualified opinion!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Commandment Confusion

When I think of The Ten Commandments, I tend to think of Mariska. Mariska was a girl in the small inter-denominational cell group I had in college and calling her a tad legalistic would be an understatement. I remember this one moment specifically, I wanted to arrange to do something on a Sunday and she didn’t want to because that would be “breaking the Sabbath” which compelled me to point out that the Sabbath was on Saturday, not Sunday. I forget all the other details but the one thing that will always remain with me is the look of sheer panic and fear on her face when it dawned on her that she had been breaking one of The Ten Commandments for virtually her whole life.

From this I learned two very important facts about Christians – first, The Ten Commandments is a matter of unbelievable importance and secondly, they don’t really know much about it. Now as Stephen Colbert demonstrates, this can be hilarious at times:

For the full interview go here  Copyright © 1995-2009 Comedy Partners. All rights Reserved

See people in this category seem to be very passionate about their idea of The Ten Commandments more than about the actual Ten Commandments from the Bible. This is the group that really wants The Ten Commandments posted everywhere and who sometimes write letters to the editor suggesting that we should throw out the constitution and just have The Ten Commandments. Now they may not all be as loveably clueless as the good congressman there, they may have actually read The Ten Commandments a couple of times. Yet they always give me the idea that on some level they think The Ten Commandments say a lot more than they actually do. They talk as if it represents the law in its most perfect form, even though it contains a couple of important omissions like, oh I don’t know, maybe laws against rape and child molesting. Sometimes they talk as if all their personal opinions on matters from homosexuality and immigration to taxes, politics and education are somehow fully addressed and endorsed therein.  As if the solution to every moral and legal dilemma and the answer to every issue out there is simply adding The Ten Commandments. But this group doesn’t concern me much. I save my ire for another group.

These guys!!

The guys over at Way of the Master have decided to weaponize The Ten Commandments in order to use it for evangelism. Screw that whole bit about preaching Jesus, forget about letting the Holy Spirit convict people of sin and righteousness (because as we all know, Scripture is wide open for interpretation when you don’t need it to be literal in order for you to make your point), you don’t need any of that when you can use The Ten Commandments as a tool for breaking people down and make sure they know how undeserving of love they really are before you offer to build them back up by offering some conditional love. I mean sure it’s what cults do too but when you really think about it, it’s only a bad thing when cults do it. When you do it with good motives then that is totally awesome!

You can find plenty of videos of them practicing this technique (See how the Moral Law (Ten Commandments) humbles a young man as Ray shares with him at Seal Beach in Southern California.) and if you have flash enabled you can have some fun getting evangelized right where you are sitting!! Otherwise here it is in a nutshell: First ask someone if they think they are a good person and if they think they will go to heaven when they die. Most people will say yes at this point (unless they are atheists in which case sit back and watch the train of thought go off the mental rails). Then you go, “Oh, so you think you are good eh? Well let’s just see about that!” Then you whip out The Ten Commandments and remind everyone that these right here are the ten absolute rules by which God judges who gets in and who doesn’t – only if you can pass these can you fact be good enough. Then proceed to ratchet up and restate each of the commandments to make sure no one can answer yes even once. Feel free to frequently use obscene hyperbole as much as possible, for instance “Have you ever in your live ever ever stolen anything, even the smallest thing? Yes? Well you know what that makes you? A THIEF!!!” (Sure, by that logic if you have ever been late for anything ever you are TARDY!!! and if you have ever given any money to any needy person you are A PHILANTHROPIST!!! but this is no time to let logic get in your way!) Now if you done your job right you would have convinced the victim target person you are evangelizing that he/she is the kind of person God could never love because they totally peed all over His list of Ten Absolute Rules for getting into Heaven. At this point they should be totally ready for some Jesus or suicide. Try to get them to choose Jesus.

With all due respect to the scholarly minds over at Way of the Master (and I swear one of these days I will be able to say that with a straight face) there are a few teensy problems with that approach.

A) There aren’t Ten Commandments

I don't know about you but there is this one thing about The Ten Commandments that pastors (for they are the chief perpetrators of this howler) often say that that peeves me to no end. In a misguided attempt to make the audience go “Gee, God is so awesome but people are sooo dumb!” they make a statement along the lines of “You know how many rules God gave us? Ten! You know how many rules men made? Hundreds!!” Yes, they say this without seemingly realising they are in fact talking about the rest of the BIBLE – not sure if yon pastors ever thought this through... How do they think that went exactly? Do they picture God giving Moses the Commandments and Moses then thinking to himself on the way down from the mountain “Hmm, you know I’m writing these 5 books and all I have are a lot of genealogies and these 10 rules. You know what, I will just make up some more stuff to fill some space!! Sweet!” Sorry, but you can’t have your Torah and eat it too. You can’t claim that God gave only a ten point checklist for getting into heaven when there are clearly more than ten items on the list!! In fact, Judaism counts 613 commandments, the first being found not in Exodus 20:2 but in Genesis 1:28 namely “be fruitful and multiply”. Add to that the fact that those are just the 613 commandments God gave in the Old Testament – I’m not even sure how many the New Testament would add – I think it’s pretty clear that we are dealing with waaaaaaay more than 10 here! In fact, my learned brethren at Way of the Master may be surprised to learn that in Judaic teaching there is no such thing as THE Ten Commandments since that would imply that the other 603 Commandments given by God were somehow not important. Instead the Hebrew name for what we call The Ten Commandments, Aseret ha-Dibrot translates more to the Ten Sayings, the Ten Statements, the Ten Declarations, the Ten Words or even the Ten Things and are considered not as individual mitzvot (commandments); rather, they are categories or classifications of mitzvot.* Of course this is probably irrelevant to our intrepid evangelists because as any good Evangelical will tell you, the Jews really don’t understand their religion or their own Book (The Old Testament).  Duh! Only western people who may or may not have actually read bits of it in English understand what God really meant by it. Surely God understands that when you are explaining to people why they deserve to go to Hell there is a need to be able to be snappy about it! The whole 613 (plus New Testament) thing is probably just out of context or something.

and lets make it snappy ok?

B) There aren’t ten Commandments
Ok, just to clarify by saying they aren’t commandments I mean they aren’t the Ten Most Absolute Immutable Rules God Judges everyone by they are made out to be here. See you can run into some pretty sticky moral dilemmas if you treat them like that. This was beautifully demonstrated when the friendly fundie folks over at Answers in Genesis pointed out that since The Ten Commandments says “don’t lie” and that’s an absolute rule you should never ever break, if you happened to be a Christian during World War 2 and you were hiding some Jews from the Nazis and a Nazi asked you if you were hiding any Jews then – even though that would condemn the Jews to certain death – you were supposed to tell the truth and point out to the nice Nazi officer where you were hiding them. Whatever happens to the Jews were between them and God, your job was to not break one of the Ten Most Absolute Immutable Rules God Judges everyone by! Yes, these are the same people who will without a blush of irony tell you that they are “pro-life”... This is a whole lot different from the way Judaism sees the commandments of God. To them – you know, the them who received the Law and have been living it and studying it for millenniapreserving a life is worth far more than keeping rules. The Jewish Mitzvah of Pikuach Nefesh or The Daily Responsibility to Safeguard Human Life states:
Jews are commanded to pray and to participate in Judaism, but above all, to honor, respect and when necessary, defend the safety of a human life.
In fact such was the emphasis on preserving life that, as the noted scholar Dr BH Young** points out, that according to the Oral Law, all the commandments in the Bible could be suspended if it meant saving a life – with the only exceptions being idolatry, incest and murder.  Now our intrepid evangelists on the other hand understand that this is just not how it works!  You start treating even one commandment in the Bible as not totally absolute and before you know it you have descended into moral relativism and then the liberal gay Muslim Satanist Atheist Commies take over and cats and dogs start living together!!!!  The moral fabric of the universe will be torn asunder!  Civilization as we know it will collapse!  Why can’t anyone see this?! But let’s not get all bent out of shape here.  So maybe they believe in more than 10 Commandments and so maybe they don’t think they are all totally absolute, but since they aren’t Christians they probably just don’t get it.  However if you do ask them to just state God’s basic requirements for Heaven they are all going to say “The Ten Commandments” right?  Surely they have learned at least that much from all their fancy booklearning and millennia of painstaking Scripture study? Right?  Let’s see:

“Maintain justice and do what is right” Prophet Yesha’yahu (Isa 56:1)

“And what does the LORD require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Prophet Mikhah (Mic 6:8)

“Whatever is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.  This is the whole Torah and the rest is commentary”  Rabbi Hillel the Elder

“ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.  Rabbi Yeshua of Nazareth (Matt 22:37-40)

“It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.” Official ruling from the 1st council at Jerusalem (Acts 15:28-29)

“Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”  Rabbi Sha’ul of Tarsus (Rom 13:10)

Wow, it’s almost as if they don’t want you to threaten hellfire and damnation!  What is up with all this love and do right stuff?  It sounds suspiciously like things those heretical liberal preachers like Rob Bell would go on about!  How is any of this useful for scaring people into accepting God?? Seriously!

C) Those aren’t the Ten Commandments
OK so nothing I say can convince you otherwise.  In order for life and faith to make sense, in order to freedom to ring and for truth, justice and the Christian way to prevail there need to be Commandments and there need to be Ten of them and you don’t care what anyone else says – scholar or otherwise – you know that’s how God wants it.  Very well then.  But if you're going to insist then at the very least use the actual Ten Commandments.  Remember there were 3 sets of Commandments.  The first time Moses came down from Mount Sinai with commandments, he merely recited a list (Exodus 20:2-17), which is what most people call The Ten Commandments although they were not engraved on stone tablets and not called The Ten Commandments.”.  The first set of stone tablets was given to Moses at a subsequent trip up the mountain (Exodus 31:18) but Moses destroyed those tablets when he saw the people worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32:19).  So he went back for a replacement. God told Moses: “Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. (Exodus 34:1).  Therefore Exodus 34:14-26 contains the only list the Bible actually calls The Ten Commandments:
“And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. (Exodus 34:28) So if you can find the Ark of the Covenant (and it doesn’t melt your face off) then these are the ones you will find, no other.  So here then are the actual Ten Commandments as they are listed in the Lord’s own Bible, the King James Version:

1) Thou shalt worship no other God.
2) Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
3) The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep.
4) Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.
5) Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks.
6) Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the Lord God.
7) Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.
8) Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left until the morning. 
9) The first of the firstfruits of thy land shalt thou bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
10) Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.

Got it?  OK, ready, set, evangelize!!

* Source: Judaism 101: Aseret ha-Dibrot.
** Source: Jesus the Jewish Theologian by Brad H. Young, page 107